Riverside Church
Our Journey to Christmas - Love

Our Journey to Christmas - Love

December 5, 2022

In our world the powerful are insulated from the peons like us. But how does the all-powerful, all wise, all knowing, creator God relate to us sinners?

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 3:1 (ASV) Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.

God responds by saying, “I’m coming down there.”

So inherent is love in the nature of God that he can do nothing without love. Every word of his is from love.

Every rule is from love.

Every promise is from love.

Every command is from love.

Every action is from love.

Every judgment is from love.

Every expression is from love.

Every move he makes is from love.

Every interaction - even his discipline - is fully drenched in love.

First, let’s explore the magnitude of his love.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

What does it mean to say “God so loved the world?”

It means this; God has a strong desire to show his goodness toward every single individual sinner on this planet - it breaks his heart to see how sin has ruled us and ruined us and broken us –

and so out of love and goodness God is compelled to act, to do something…

He breaks through into this planet by sending Jesus, his only son, at great cost, in order to make a way - to show the way - to be the way- to open a door for us to have the best gift, eternal life –

Eternal life is a life that is lived experiencing the fullness of God now and forever. Eternal life is experiencing heaven now and forever. It is knowing why you are alive.

What is unfathomable is that we look at the love of God and we reject it and we doubt the integrity of it and maybe we just conclude that this is another way God is trying to control us.

Second, think about the manner of God’s love.

1 John 3:1 (ASV) Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.

The manner of his love. This is an interesting Greek word that can be translated “from what country, race or tribe?”

It means that the manner of God’s love is completely foreign to the human race. It is not found in humanity. The manner of God’s love doesn’t exist on this planet. It is otherworldly and unearthly.

God loves because he is compelled from his nature to love.

This is the way Paul wrote about the four dimensions of the love of Christ…

Ephesians 3:17…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

This is radical, head turning, eye popping, heartwarming, hand reaching, jaw dropping, go the distance, never give up, barrier breaking, always ready to help – love.

John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.

 

Our Journey To Christmas - Our Hope is Built On Nothing Less
7 Letters – The church at Laodicea

7 Letters – The church at Laodicea

November 21, 2022

We are finishing a seven-week series where we are focused on seven letters that were written to seven churches and are all recorded in the book of Revelation. These letters originated from Jesus but they were written by the hand of the apostle John. It is safe to say that each church that received one of these letters was completely shocked in good ways and in bad ways by what they read.

 

The church in the city of Laodicea received the last letter.

 

Laodicea was known for its great wealth.

Laodicea was famous for its wool.

Laodicea was renowned for medical wonders.

Laodicea was known for its poor water. 

 

Revelation 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.

 

Revelation 3:15   I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

 

These words of Jesus are violent. Generally we want our hot drinks to be hot and our cold drinks to be called. But there is no place in the world for a lukewarm Pepsi.

 

When he says that he will “spit them” out of his mouth that is a nice way of saying vomit.

There was nothing hot and passionate about this church.

There was nothing cold and refreshing about this church.

 

Are you lukewarm? Check out the statements from Francis Chan…

Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when the pressure is on.

 

Lukewarm people give money to charity and the church…as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living.

 

Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.

 

Lukewarm people say they love Jesus and is a part of their lives. But only a part.

 

Lukewarm people love others, but not as much as they love themselves.

 

And where did this lukewarmness come from? The next verse tells us…

 

Revelation 3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

 

We could probably shorten that verse and just say it like this, “I’m rich so why do I need Jesus?” I just need Jesus to get me into heaven.

 

Revelation 3:18  I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

 

Jeremiah 9:23   Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

 

Finally he concludes the letter with an invitation that you’ve heard before;

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

7 Letters – The Faithful church in Philadelphia

7 Letters – The Faithful church in Philadelphia

November 14, 2022

The Old Testament story of Hagar is pertinent to our Scriptures today.

Genesis 16:13 So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

El Roi (Hebrew name given to God) – The God who sees.

Now, almost 2000 years later, in about 90 A.D., a mailman shows up with a letter to the church in Philadelphia. A personal letter from the apostle John.

Revelation 3:7“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

  1. The God who sees.
  2. The God who loves faithfulness.
  3. The God who is God.

The God who sees

Revelation 3:8 I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

The word to describe this church might be “frustration.” Frustrated because they were doing the right things but thought more would be happening.

Maybe this church thought they were insignificant but there is somebody who noticed them…

Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.

It seems that Satan had raised up a group - we see this in one of the other letters - a group of fake Jewish people to undermine them and discourage them. This church was certainly on Satan’s radar screen.

But this church was not insignificant.

You are not insignificant.

Jesus sees this church. And Jesus sees you.

  1. The God who loves faithfulness.

Revelation 3:8 I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it…

Jesus commends them for faithfulness.

That they kept his word; that they guarded the message of Jesus.

That they never denied the name of Jesus.

Revelation 3:8 I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it…

The pillars in God’s temple are the faithful.

One of the greatest godlike characters in followers of Jesus is faithfulness. Faithful people are living at the highest levels.

Faithful people always give their responsibilities their best.

Faithful people never show up unprepared.

Faithful people don’t quit.

Faithful people use their talents to serve others.

Faithful people show up even when they don’t want to.

Faithful people never abuse God’s people.

Faithful people are more committed to the mission of God that do how they feel at the moment.

Here is the most important maxim in the Bible about faithfulness.

Luke 16:10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

Here is the thought of the day: “Transformation is both the miracle of God and the stewardship of man.” That means that God will do what we cannot do but He commands us to do what He will not do for us.

There are some things God will not do today…

  1. The God who is God.

Revelation 3:7“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut.

Jesus proclaims that he has the key. This key that he owns opens doors that cannot be shut. This key will lock doors that cannot be opened.

 

 

7 Letters – The dead church at Sardis

7 Letters – The dead church at Sardis

November 7, 2022

Part of the culture of Sardis was overconfidence and smugness. This plays into the letter sent to this church.

 

Revelation 3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

Club Sardis!

All the other churches wanted to be like Sardis. But Jesus looks down and he’s not impressed with the reputation that they have out in the world. He just flat out tells them, “you are dead. You’re lifeless. You have no fruit, I haven’t been there for months and you haven’t missed me.”

What is it that makes a church alive? I think that I can answer that very simply in one Bible verse. Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Here is a verse from Isaiah that Jesus quoted more than once;

Mark 7:6 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;  in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

Revelation 3:3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.

Remember.

We see the lost but were not moved.

We see the deformity of our culture - but were not moved.

We see people suffering – but were not moved.

I will admit that it bothers me that Tucker Carlson or Greg Gutfeld can move people faster than the Holy Spirit can.

Jesus is yelling, “wake up.”

God one time told Belshazzar of the Old Testament;

Daniel 5:23 says “But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!”

Then Daniel told him, “you have been weighed on the balances and have not measured up.”

The letter ends with a word of encouragement to those who have resisted the culture, who have not gone asleep…

Revelation 3:4  Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

I am who you say I am – Adopted and Beloved

I am who you say I am – Adopted and Beloved

October 31, 2022

I am what you say I am and I am your beloved.”

Romans 5:5 …God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 3:1 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

There is no more brutal warfare from Satan against your life then him trying to separate you from this love from God.

I am who you say I am and he says that I am beloved.

Romans 8:15   For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…

1 John 3:1 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

What is your relational state with Jesus today?

He pours out love.

He lavishes love.

He loves without limitation or reservation.

He not only protects...

He not only provides...

But he has great affection for you and he longs for the kind of emotional connection with you that you would cry out to him, “daddy, Papa, father.”

There is nothing God will not do for his children.

I am who you say I am.

And you say that I'm loved and so I am loved.

And you say that I am yours and so I am yours.

You say that I’m adopted and so I am adopted.

You say that I am a full member of the family…

You say that I belong and so I belong.

Seven letters - Dear John 1 – Thyatira – A Tolerant Church

Seven letters - Dear John 1 – Thyatira – A Tolerant Church

October 24, 2022

We are in a series of messages looking at the seven letters in revelation 2–3. Seven letters written to seven different churches sent through the apostle John from Jesus himself.

The church at Ephesus had lost his first love even though they were doing great things.

The church at Smyrna was undergoing great suffering and so Jesus encourages them.

The church at Pergamum was living in hell‘s headquarters but they have begun to compromise.

Revelation 2:18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

His eyes penetrate everything.

Jesus sees it all.

He sees the good – the bad – he sees a secret places of our life –

He even knows about the thoughts and the intentions of our heart –

19  “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.

Thyatira was known to be a place that produced textiles and armor. It was also place that was highly unionized. To live in Thyatira and prosper one almost had to be a part of one of these unions.

Now Jesus begins to compliment his church in VS 19. He says, “I know all the things you do.” This was no slacker church. They were on top of things.

  1. He first mentions love.
  2. Love led to faith.

Faith is believing it is so – when it’s not so – because God said so – and so it will be so.

  1. Faith led to service.
  2. Love, faith and serving resulted in patient endurance.

The opposite of these four things would be…

  • I don’t care
  • I don’t have time
  • why should I bother
  • and let somebody else do it.

Jesus recognizes that this church really had it going. Their faith was alive.

But unfortunately, something else was going on in this church that Jesus needed to address. Here’s what Jesus says to this church…

Revelation 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

Jezebel!

  • She calls herself a prophet and claims to have a spiritual aura and deep teachings about God and new revelations.
  • She is teaching wrong things.
  • Her so-called prophecies are no better than the fortune cookies from panda express.
  • In fact, her prophecies are words of deception that contradict the clear word of God.
  • She is leading my people to commit sexual sin.

Jesus says that she is undermining the authority of his teachers and his leaders. She usurps the authority of God’s spiritual leaders.

False teachers and false prophets…

  • they will ruin Jesus for you
  • they will ruin your experience of grace
  • they will ruin the Bible for you
  • and they will ruin your fellowship with others
  • they will ruin the church
  • They will ruin you

Jude 3 I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

You can’t just believe anything and be a Christian at the same time.

Tolerance is not a virtue in this church. Jesus is calling for intolerance toward whatever threatens his church.

Revelation 22:1 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rulethem with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

  1. I’m coming after Jezebel and those who are sleeping with her and unless they make a change in repent it’s going to turn out bad for them.
  2. Hold fast until I come.
Seven Letters - Dear John 1 – Pergamum – A Compromising Church

Seven Letters - Dear John 1 – Pergamum – A Compromising Church

October 17, 2022

We are in a series of talks called “7 letters.” These letters are found in revelation 2-3. They are letters written by the apostle John but they come from Jesus himself. When these letters were delivered to 7 churches and contained information to encourage them but it also contained instructions on things that needed to get better.

Today we read the 3rd letter to a church about 55 miles from Smyrna called Pergamos.

Revelation 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

The sword = God’s word; This is weapon for defense, protection or destruction.

Eph. 6:17…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…

Revelation 2:12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faitheven in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

This church is living in Hells headquarters.

Satan decided that since he couldn’t beat them, he would join them.

Revelation 2:14  (NLT) “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

This is the sin of compromise.

2 Cor. 6:16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”

Have you ever taken seriously that you/we are the temple of God and that the temple of God needs to be kept sacred and holy?

This church in Pergamom had let down its guard. It wasn't much of a temple anymore.

And Jesus tells this church Revelation 2:16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Compromise, tolerating lies masqueraded as the truth, being complacent and not correcting error - he calls it a sin.

It's difficult to call out, it's not popular, it offends people, but it's necessary.

1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

You see, this is precisely what the enemy is after - Your identity - your calling.

  • To steal your chosenness.
  • To take away your royalty.
  • To destroy your priesthood.
  • To nullify the message.
  • To shut off the light.

Jesus finishes his message to this church like this;

Revelation 2:17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

 

 

Seven Letters - Dear John 1 – Smyrna – A Suffering Church

Seven Letters - Dear John 1 – Smyrna – A Suffering Church

October 10, 2022

The pastor of this congregation was most likely a discouraged man and was fighting for the life of his church and his people as he unwrapped this letter and read it. This church was suffering. Here is what he read;

Revelation 2:8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions…

These words are the cornerstone of everything else mentioned in this letter - everything is going to stand on this one thing; Jesus is the first and the last meaning that he stands alone in his uniqueness and that he is God without beginning and without end. He transcends time – problems – people – governments - history -  he is the everlasting God who will prevail.

 Revelation 2:8 These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

What in the world was going on in Smyrna? It was a great city but something very bad was happening to those who followed Jesus in the city of Smyrna.

There was an organized group of haters who were deliberately trying to punish those who believed in Jesus.

Why did their faith in Jesus irritate those people so much?

The world has lots of reasons to be irritated with Christians but the Bible says that people love darkness and reject the light. John 3:19  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

And so how do we respond to persecution?

Do Good - Matthew 5:11  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. …16 let your light shine before others, so thatthey may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Love and Pray for Enemies -  Matthew 5:44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

Overcome Evil with Good - Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave itto the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Do more Good - 1 Peter 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Trust God - 1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

Really? That’s it? Fighting Hate with love? Bad with good? Suffering with patience? Giving up our rights and waiting for God to act?   YES!

God develops rich Christians in the school of suffering.

Revelation 2:9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!

Suffering is real and unpleasant and yet we gain something through it.

Knowing Jesus is what it means to be rich!

What will be your last testimony?

Revelation 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

 

Seven Letters. Dear Ephesus – A loveless church – Revelation 2:1

Seven Letters. Dear Ephesus – A loveless church – Revelation 2:1

October 3, 2022

NOTE: The last few minutes of the message did not record properly and are not included in the podcast.

 

Do any of you remember the joy of actually getting real mail?

Paul in Ephesus Acts 19.

It is now 95 A.D. – 43 years after the beginning of this mighty church and John sends the church a letter and has these words to say; 

Revelation 2:1 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:

And here is the message…

“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting……But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.

You just might say this church was dynamic, dedicated, determined, disciplined and discerning.

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!

Once they asked Jesus, “what is the greatest commandment - boil it down to one thing.” Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

What Jesus boiled everything down to was; love. He didn’t say the greatest command was to obey, or study but what God desired from you was love.

The remedy…

Revelation 2:5 (ESV) Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

John calls this church to do three things;

  1. Remember
  2. Repent
  3.  Return

 

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